Diver attaching Mooring

Moorings Provide Protection

Anchor damage is a key threat to coral reefs and the Day Use Mooring Program helps protect them by giving divers anchor points to use rather than the coral itself. The program is coordinated by a statewide Day-Use Mooring Working Group.

Search Mooring Database Statewide Coordination

Brief History of Hawaiʻi Day-Use Moorings

Anchor damage is a key threat to coral reefs, according to the International Coral Reef Initiative, the US Coral Reef Task Force, and the State of Hawaiʻi. The day-use mooring pin technology was developed in 1981 by John Halas and others at the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary in Florida and has been used with success at coral reef sites around the world.


Hawaiʻi’s first day-use moorings were installed on the Kona coast in May 1990 as an innovative partnership among community members, ocean tourism businesses, non-governmental organizations, and the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant Extension Service. Over the years, other coastal communities and ocean tourism businesses throughout the state have been inspired to follow this example. The State government eventually began to provide some financial assistance, although private donations and grants continue to be the largest source of funding and volunteers continue to provide equipment and manpower. Today there is a statewide system of about 220 day-use moorings around the main Hawaiian Islands.


In 1998, the state legislature passed Act 306, which requires, among other things, that a system of day-use mooring buoys be established along the 150 mile-long West Hawaiʻi coast as part of the West Hawaiʻi Regional Fishery Management Area. Other state statutes and rules prohibit anchoring within 100 yards of each mooring. The 1998 state legislature also appropriated limited one-time funds to the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DLNR-DOBOR) to pay for initial mooring hardware, including buoys, line, cable, shackles, and anchor bolts. 

View History & Timeline of Day Use Moorings

Funding for installation and maintenance of the Hawaiʻi Day-Use Mooring Program still largely depends on private donations and volunteer efforts

Learn more about mooring technology by downloading the online PDF "Day Use Mooring Technology"